Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the first book by Jesse Andrews and was published in 2012 and has been about in many book blogs and video reviews and a lot of the people absolutely love it, this year a film with the same title came out and the screenplay was written by Jesse Andrews himself.
This book is a story about Greg who is a high school senior and is pushed by his mother into a relationship with a girl named Rachel, who has been diagnosed with leukemia and used to be his friend, but they drifted apart. The story is about him, his friend Earl and Rachel and their senior year.
When I first got to this book, I thought that it is going to be something like The Fault in Our Stars. I did not particularly enjoy that one, but I’ve heard also that John Green’s masterpiece isn’t one of the best cancer books, so I had hopes for this one.
I feel like I have to walk you through my feelings about this book, based on my progress. So when I started this book, I felt bored, Greg was a boring lead character and while I didn’t hate him, I really did not relate to him or feel for him, then things got a bit more interesting and I really enjoyed the description of his family – I especially liked his father and Cat Stevens (though hated the mother), I felt like this is going to be a good thing, so kind of happily continued my read just to find that Earl was disgusting and terrible and that next third of the book was about him, funnily enough, by the end of the book he was my favourite character, but that doesn’t change the fact that at the beginning I was completely disgusted by him.
While we found out more about Greg and Earl, we constantly were reminded by the author that we are brain damaged, if we continue to read this piece and it was so annoying, it was like he expected everyone to love this big creation of his that it didn’t even come into his mind that perhaps some of the people will hate it and will really agree with him that it is bad and he just keeps planting that idea in the readers head.
You know, everyone’s got that friend, (s)he looks pretty and is quite slim, but (s)he just goes on and on about how fat/not muscular (s)he is and how (s)he needs a diet/exercise? And you just tell to them that no, no, she is not fat at all and that is all what she wants to hear and attention is all she wants, she never even though about going on a diet! And she is happy! But what if you don’t say anything, ‘cause you noticed that she has taken up few pounds lately? She gets off crying because you didn’t say anything – you called her fat. The truth is, she called herself fat, she just didn’t expect to be right.
The author called his book bad and he and he is right. It kept bothering me the whole time, as well as Greg’s constant stupidity, he also tells everyone what a piece of shit he is and everyone tells him that he is not. But you know what? He is.
So, after getting over this part I kind of fell asleep because the book just got very boring and that is how it stayed until the very end of it.
So the good things I have to say about this book is that I really enjoyed father’s and Cat Stevens’ descriptions and at some point started to like Earl. Oh and the fact that this book didn’t really have a plot and aim for the whole thing, but it didn’t bother me as much as it would in any other book is a good thing. Right?
Earl became my favourite character somewhere in the middle and I felt like his misspells were part of his character. You know, not author’s perception of him, but part of him, that he knew how to spell it right, but he just continued to do it wrong because it showed everyone who he is and where he comes from. Perhaps it is my way of saving a silver fork from a sinking ship, but I’ll take that.
He is smart and real because of the things that have happened to him and his family and environment he grew up. I felt like everything about him is an act, but he had to do it, to make his life happen, which simultaneously meant to give up on any dreams he has and sacrifice himself for greater good which is his family.
And the only joke I actually thought was funny in this book was Earl’s questions about homosexuality, but there as well it went too far and stopped being funny. All the other jokes seemed too simple to be even taken as jokes and did not justify the many times the word ‘giggling’ was used.
I didn’t mind that Rachel was so flat and didn’t really have much of a character, that obviously was the point of the book, so I don’t really want to give a hard time about that. And I never expected the ending of the book to be any different, because the attitude from the storyteller was not promising and that’s why his “if this would be a normal book” seemed out of place and even a bit hypocritical – as if he believed that even though he had this nihilistic attitude to this own work (or reader, not sure which one it is), the reader would still believe that the book can get on the track.
I might say that I still hoped that the book will turn out good, but truth to be told – I didn’t. I wanted to stop reading it around the time when I didn’t wanted to watch a movie and author claimed that I have brain fungus, but that would mean that I don’t get to rant about this book and would be completely grumpy and unbearable for my boyfriend for next few days. And I strictly believe that I don’t have the right to say that something is bad, if I haven’t tried it to my fullest.
This book received one star from me on my goodreads page (wow, surprise, huh?) and I do not recommend it to anyone at all.
Let me know what and why you loved about the book and I will try to understand you and perhaps see it in a different light.